In 2015, I made friends with a German, while he was visiting Jamaica. During our friendship, he spoke a lot about his job and the great perks it brought him. The two perks that really resonated with me was that he travelled a lot for work, and enjoyed quite a bit of freedom.
“You must have a pretty amazing boss,” I told him.
He then laughed and explained that he didn’t have a boss. It was freelancing that had given him the chance to travel as much as he did, and to never sit behind another corporate desk for as long as he lived.
I instantly told him how amazing that sounded, and how I wished I could pursue a similar path. He cautioned that it wasn’t as glamorous as it sounded. It was constant working, constant dealing with the time zone differences of various clients, and never getting a day off because he was always “on call”.
Now, I see that he was right. That is precisely what it’s like now that I’m doing the very same thing, myself.
It’s been a long hard road, but ultimately, enjoying true freedom in life does require some money – whether it’s to buy an Audi R8, an old farmhouse with ten chickens, or just cover the bills so you can focus on your real passions that might not be profitable just yet.
Passion does not always pay.
In fact, it usually doesn’t…
Finally, after weeks of no time off (still haven’t had one), I decided to take at least a few hours to go climbing with a friend. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to meet the real life Spiderman – or so I told him.
He’s an exceptionally good climber, and an equally good coach. He got me up those 50-65 foot walls while standing at the base, ready to lower me down. I never fell, never slipped, never attempted to come back down until I had made it to the top each time. It was one hell of an achievement for me – especially since I did all that with a sprained wrist.
The following Thursday, I also made time for another friend who had been complaining for quite some time that I had gone from seeing him every week to not seeing him at all, so I made a point of attending his party, and thoroughly chowed down on some good ol’ Jamaican steamed fish. Yum!
It was a good reminder (and one I needed) that financial and career goals should never become the sum-total of all your achievements in life. It’s been said that when most people find themselves on their deathbeds with time to think about their life (and perhaps “the afterlife”), their greatest regret is that they worked too much.
You have to find that balance.
And then you have to maintain it.
I’m still working on that myself, but in due time, I’ll have it all figured out – I’m sure. It just takes time, self-evaluation and the willingness to change an unfavourable situation.
I hope you’ve all been having a great weekend, and that unlike me, you haven’t been working too hard!